HEALTH REMINDER: Test for Radon
January 16, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 16, 2015
Contact: Communications Office
TALLAHASSEE—The Florida Department of Health is reminding Floridians about the importance of identifying and addressing elevated indoor radon levels in homes and buildings statewide. January is Radon Action Month and is designed to educate Floridians about what radon is, the health risks of being exposed to elevated levels of radon, how to test homes and other buildings for radon, and what actions need to be taken if high levels of radon are present.
Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that you cannot see, smell or touch and is found in most soils and earthen construction materials. It is formed by the natural radioactive decay of uranium in rock, soil and water. While outdoor levels produce little risk, higher concentrations found indoors present potential health hazards. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), radon in indoor air is estimated to cause about 21,000 lung cancer deaths each year in the United States. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. after smoking and the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.
“Exposure to elevated indoor radon levels is dangerous to a person’s health, so it is important to know how to protect yourself from this health hazard,” says Dr. Anna Likos, director, Division of Disease Control and Health Protection. “One in five Florida homes tested for radon has elevated levels, so we encourage you to test for radon and to take corrective actions if needed to keep your family safe and healthy.”
Radon levels can be measured with a simple test and elevated levels can be lowered through well-established techniques. To prevent dangerous radon exposure, the department and EPA recommends the following:
- All residents should test their homes. Schools, day cares and work places should be tested. Test kits are available at many hardware and home improvement stores as well as through online retailers. The department has certified radon measurement professionals who are available to provide radon testing for a fee.
- Building owners should address elevated radon-related problems immediately—this can be done by a department-certified radon mitigation professional.
- New buildings should include radon-resistant features, which can be easily and inexpensively installed during initial construction—these features are especially important in areas reporting elevated radon levels.
For more information about radon, its health effects and testing procedures, please visit the department’s Radon Program’s website at http://radon.floridahealth.gov or contact the Department’s Radon Hotline at 1-800-543-8279.
The department works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.